Yesterday was my birthday. My wife arrived home from work to her two boys, both of which have birthdays in the same month. But this was ‘my day’, so they asked what I wanted and I picked a local restaurant that I love and we headed over there for the evening. And being in Sliema that required all of 5 minutes of walking.
January is always an interesting month for me. Conversations about the New Year, being another year older, and reflections on the year that just went by always crop up. So here we sat, having our annual discussion.
At first I thought, “I didn’t do a thing.”
Since January of last year, I have been “Mr. Mom”. Linda goes off to work, I stay at home. During Aidan’s school year I help get him out the door, watch Linda follow soon after to catch her ride to work, then I am home alone until they start to return. Summer’s are not all that different because we find activities and camps for Aidan. And Serena is still back in the U.S. with her mom from my first marriage, finishing up High School.
So if I die tomorrow, what goes on my tombstone?
Here lies Trent McNair
Made a MEAN Mac and Cheese
Human beings are creatures driven by Ego. Women desire equality, but need to play nice to get there, men desire dominance, but need to be more tolerant of the new rules. Acceptance of these desires by the opposite gender is an unspoken law, like gravity. Let’s call it the ‘Law of Tolerance’.
So most of us quietly obey this new law until a certain point in our lives. Usually at around 30-35 women who are clambering up the career ladder go a little slack jawed on their way to work one day when they realize “I WANT TO HAVE A BABY. NOW.” Men tend to get more and more pissed and emasculated as they watch women excel at the jobs that they think they should have.
All the while I sit on the sidelines observing this phenomena unfold. It’s mildly amusing, really. I say mildly because sometimes it seems like the unspoken Law of Tolerance has created a generation of boys that don’t really have great male role models and just stay little boys into their adulthood (which is extremely dangerous), and women that are pissed off at their behavior (inflaming the situation further).
Why was I even talking about this? Oh, yeah. Because usually when I am introducing myself to new people around the island, I get a queer reaction when I don’t ramble off a job title that spans several words. What they are expecting to hear from a well spoken man of my age is:
“I’m the Senior Director of Worldwide Applications Development at Acme Corporation”
Instead they get:
“I’m a multimedia consultant and stay-at-home Dad”
Sometimes, when I know that they are really going to be shocked and because I enjoy registering their reactions , I just leave out the multimedia consultant and stick with ‘Stay-at-home Dad’. I’ve been smirked at, chuckled at, even called “Boy Toy” and “Kept Man”. Mind you, it was usually the women that would react this way. Men seem to sense something in me that could be life-threatening and seem to just numbly stand there.
But it really doesn’t matter what they think. We are all doing battle with our Ego, the Law of Tolerance, and life’s daily struggles. In general, we are all in the same boat. Rather than take it personally, it’s just easier to allow everyone their opinions. My personal struggle is no more important than yours, even though we as human beings are so focused on self that we have a hard time seeing anything other than, well, self. So sometimes I am tempted to respond to the questions of “What do you do?” with “Don’t worry about it. I’m nowhere near as important as you think you are”
So that’s my new motto for a New Year: “I’m nowhere near as important as you think you are”.
So this year is going to be amazing. I really look forward to the challenges and opportunities that will be coming my way. I look forward to whatever may come, and I embrace my nowhere-near-important role as a husband and father like a warrior.
Trent McNair is a stay-at-home Dad. Last year he didn’t own and operate an organic nursery, write an award-winning children’s book about nutrition, gardening and the environment, or assist in the creation of a community garden. He also didn’t build and maintain several websites or do any outstanding humanitarian work. He did, however, support his wife, cooked nearly every meal, helped his son with his homework and afterschool activities, and started to write the novel he has been babbling about for years.